Unnatural Death: Confessions of a Medical Examiner Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Michael Baden
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What military rule hindered the MIA team until 1985?

2. Where did Humes place the gunshot wound to the head erroneously?

3. Why are many exotic poisons difficult to detect during autopsy?

4. Why does Baden challenge the autopsy finding of the Lindberg baby?

5. What drug does Baden note is invisible on the autopsy table?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe the symptoms of strangulation, as seen during autopsy.

2. Describe the People vs. Levine case. What was the case, and why did Baden fail to do as he was asked by the DA?

3. Explain how the body of Theresa Ferrara was identified and why there were different strands of hair on her torso.

4. Explain why identification of the victims of Flight 66 was hindered.

5. Describe how Baden explains why the father of the female drug addict in Chapter Two has little emotion.

6. What was Humes' excuse about the faulty autopsy, and is this excuse valid?

7. Describe the event in Oklahoma that caused the state to create an office of medical examiner.

8. Explain the circumstances surrounding the guilty verdict of Harvey Crippen.

9. Explain why Baden believes coroners are often in trouble as a result of their positions.

10. Many cases are mentioned in Chapter Four that others point to as proof that Baden made poor judgments while acting as ME. What is his defense, in general, for the accusations?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In the case of Daphne Mellon, it became clear, through Baden's investigation, that Mellon had died of a drug overdose. The case was closed, without locating anyone who attended the party Baden believes she attended, and without speaking with anyone who directly had dealings with Mellon at the party. Do you believe Baden's judgment was biased, based on Mellon's known drug use and history of sexual promiscuity? Or do you believe the evidence found supports his idea of a drug and sex party gone wrong? Explain your answer, using the details from the case. Be sure to mention where she was found, events leading up to the death, her boyfriend's statements, and those of her friends, her actions prior to her death, the findings at the scene, and any other pertinent information.

Essay Topic 2

There are several cases in the book where individuals take part in the death of another person, but are determined to be innocent of wrongdoing. These cases include the case of Daphne Mellon, the doctor and nurse in Chapter 10, and the Sutton Place banker, Robert. Choose one of these cases, and discuss the following:

1.) What was the cause of death for the victim?

2.) What were the circumstances surrounding their death?

3.) Why was no one convicted of their murder?

4.) Do you think that the person(s) involved in the victim's death should have been brought to trial? Why or why not? What is the difference between your chosen case, and the case of Cathy Smith, who served time for giving John Belushi his last drug injection? Why was she brought to justice, but the people in your chosen case were not? What does this say about the current system?

Be sure to go into specific detail about why these deaths were considered accidents, even though someone else was present, or contributed to the death.

Essay Topic 3

Baden closes the novel by noting that the system is failing, and has been failing for some time. Why does he say this? What does he attribute as the cause of this failure? What are some things he thinks can help fix the situation? Do you agree these things are important? Why or why not? After reading the novel, do you think forensic medicine, and the role of the ME, are important? Why? What power do they have? What are their responsibilities, and why are these important?

(see the answer keys)

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